Amy Moore visited the popular coach touring destination from March 21-22, which houses a number of group-friendly attractions close to the city centre

An accurate depiction of Canterbury in Roman times, better explored at the Canterbury Roman Museum. VISIT CANTERBURY

An accurate depiction of Canterbury in Roman times, better explored at the Canterbury Roman Museum. VISIT CANTERBURY

THE CANTERBURY TALES
The Canterbury Tales is a renowned visitor attraction in the area.

Since its inception in 1988, The Canterbury Tales has creatively narrated the life and times of native poet Geoffrey Chaucer. The journey begins outside, as groups enter through a flagged walkway complete with authentic medieval sound effects. Once inside, The Canterbury Tales takes visitors on a pilgrimage from London to Canterbury, with new characters introduced for 2015. There is also an opportunity to grab a ‘selfie’ with the cheeky Wife of Bath.

The Canterbury Tales is an immersive, 4D experience complete with costumed re-enactors, potent smells and a poetic 1400s setting. There are five prophecies in total, with GTW’s favourites including The Miller’s Tale and The Nun’s Priest Tale. Audio descriptive guides are handed out before every tour and are available in multiple languages including French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and Japanese.

Each tour lasts approximately 40 minutes and commences in the Tabard Inn, ending at the shrine of St Thomas Becket. The Canterbury Tales is located along St Margaret’s Street, with a designated coach drop off/pick up point located nearby on Upper Bridge Street. The Canterbury Tales accepts pre-booked parties of 15 or more, with free admission for the coach driver.

Why not combine a visit with Canterbury Cathedral near Burgate?

For more information visit www.canterburytales.org.uk

THE CANTERBURY TALES SEES £20,000 INVESTMENT

The Canterbury Tales has been revitalised following a £20,000 refurbishment programme, which took place over the winter.

Evolution Productions have revamped the sets, which are live guided by costumed characters and extended to cover more of the tour, with improved access for wheelchair users. New signage and leaflets have also been produced to refresh the attraction’s appeal and branding.

The Canterbury Tales was officially re-launched on Monday, March 10, with the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Ann Taylor, present amongst other tourism representatives.

Lyndsay Ridley, General Manager at The Canterbury Tales, said: The Canterbury Tales is enjoying a great start to 2015. Exciting new events are planned, the refurbishment is breathing new life into the St Margaret’s Street site and it has just been awarded a special ‘Welcome Accolade’ by VisitEngland, recognising the warm welcome and excellent customer service the attraction offers to visitors.”

Group rates have been frozen for 2015, with entry priced at £7.25 per person for a prebooked party of 15 or more. Opening times vary throughout the year.

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL
Canterbury Cathedral is a stunning example of 14th century architecture, renowned as the site of the bloody murder of St Thomas Becket in 1170 under order of King Henry II.

His final resting place at The Canterbury Tales, Canterbury Cathedral is arguably one of Europe’s most important pilgrimage centres and the acclaimed seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Guests enter through the elongated nave, where the pilgrims would once have gathered, which is now brightly coloured by descriptive stained glass windows.

GTW attended during a religious ceremony on March 22, 2015, travelling east over worn steps and uneven flooring towards The Martyrdom.

The 11th century Crypt is the oldest and most basic part of the structure, which is slightly dimmed by candlelight and hushed by silenced footsteps. The Eastern Crypt was the original resting place of St Thomas Becket until his transfer to the 12th century Trinity Chapel. His shrine was later demolished under the order of King Henry VIII. There are a number of private Chapel’s housed within Canterbury Cathedral, including St Gabriel’s Chapel that showcases the oldest Christian wall paintings in the country.

Canterbury Cathedral requests a small additional cost for guided tours, with reduced entry available at £9 per person when booked in advance.

Both guided tours and audio tours are available Monday to Friday at select times, with joint tickets granting access to St Augustine’s Abbey.

To book email visits@canterburycathedral. org or for more information visit www.canterbury-cathedral.org.

BEANEY ART MUSEUM & LIBRARY

Beaney Art Museum & Library was founded in 1858, aptly named after benefactor Dr James Beaney (1828-1891). The arty attraction boasts a pretty terracotta decorated vintage exterior, and saw a restoration and reopening in September 2012. Beaney Art Museum & Library boasts free admission and has recently seen a new library extended onto the second floor.

Beaney Art Museum & Library’s artistic nature is reflected through a number of permanent exhibitions

Beaney Art Museum & Library’s artistic nature is reflected through a number of permanent exhibitions

Beaney Art Museum & Library has been constructed over a section of the Roman Forum, later home to The Greyhound and the George and Dragon Inn towards the 17th century. Both were demolished to make way for the Beaney Art Museum & Library. Permanent exhibitions include Thomas Sydney Cooper’s controversial cuttings of cattle located in the Garden Room, simply turn right upon arrival.

Beaney Art Museum & Library boasts a pretty terracotta decorated vintage exterior

Beaney Art Museum & Library boasts a pretty terracotta decorated vintage exterior

GTW thoroughly enjoyed a temporary exhibition that depicted the colourful and childlike qualities of Enid Blyton’s stories in Mystery, Magic & Midnight Feasts, with reference to the fictitious Famous Five, the Secret Seven and the Magic Faraway Tree.

Keeping up with the times, Beaney Art Museum & Library is scheduled to run Canterbury in the Age of the Magna Carta from June to September 2015. Canterbury was one of the five charter towns in England, with one of four documents formerly housed in Canterbury Cathedral.

Guided tours are available. For more information visit www.canterbury.co.uk/groups

CANTERBURY ROMAN MUSEUM
Canterbury Roman Museum has been specially built around the former site of a Roman townhouse, constructed around 70AD and later uncovered by heavy bombing in World War Two.

Here, visitors can view a primitive under floor heating system with slates piled, dimly exhibited behind glass alongside mismatched mosaic flooring.

Canterbury Roman Museum was beautifully restored in 2013, with guests welcomed by mock mosaic tiling and prominent white pillars. Inside, the Canterbury Roman Museum is rather ‘hands on,’ seeing a new artefact displayed – an Iron Age Soldier’s Helmet – where the fatal blow can clearly be seen and its weight demonstrated within designated interactive zones. The Iron Age Soldier’s Helmet was integrated into the exhibition in October 2014.

The history of Whitefriars is important at Canterbury Roman Museum. Prior to the venue’s construction, the Canterbury Archaeological Trust undertook the largest excavation programme seen in the city, with some Roman artefacts uncovered and exhibited. Many remain in Canterbury Roman Museum, alongside the remnants of a Roman Bathhouse, which depicts part of a Roman Bath Cistern.

Standard adult entry is priced at £8, with guided tours available for groups of up to 30 at an additional cost. A reduced joint ticket is available with access to the Canterbury Heritage Museum.

Located on Butchery Lane, Canterbury Roman Museum covers multiple levels.

For more information visit www.canterbury.co.uk/groups

MARLOWE THEATRE WHAT’S ON

Marlowe Theatre sees a giant face sculpture located adjacent to the River Stour, formerly placed by the entrance to the old theatre

Marlowe Theatre sees a giant face sculpture located adjacent to the River Stour, formerly placed by the entrance to the old theatre

  • THE MOUSETRAP (TOURING)
    September 1-5, 2015
  • BLOOD BROTHERS (TOURING)
    September 14-26, 2015
  • THE MARLOWE COMEDY CABARET
    September 26, 2015
  • DARA O’ BRIAIN – CROWD TICKLER
    October 1, 2015
  • NINA CONTI – IN YOUR FACE
    October 4, 2015
  • ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER
    October 9, 2015
  • THE MARLOWE COMEDY CABARET
    October 31, 2015
  • ALAN DAVIES – LITTLE VICTORIES
    November 15, 2015
  • SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS
    November 27, 2015-January 10, 2016
  • THE BODYGUARD (TOURING)
    February 16-27, 2016
  • SARAH MILLICAN – OUTSIDER
    August 9, 2016

FOR FULL LISTINGS VISIT WWW.MARLOWETHEATRE.COM

CANTERBURY HERITAGE MUSEUM
Canterbury Heritage Museum is housed within the former Poor Priests Hospital, built around 1373, complete with a beamed roof and constructed from local chalk and protruding flint.

Canterbury has preserved some of its antique charm, with a number of cosy pubs welcoming touring groups

Canterbury has preserved some of its antique charm, with a number of cosy pubs welcoming touring groups

Once inside, exhibits include hand axes, World War Two bomb shelters, pre-Roman artefacts and some much loved children’s characters including Rupert Bear, who was created by Canterbury artist Mary Tourtel. Additional highlights include The Canterbury Cross that dates from 850AD, reflected as the symbol of the original Anglican Church.

Linking back to Canterbury Cathedral, also featured is an artistic interpretation of the life and death of St Thomas Becket, narrated via a 16-metre Bayeux tapestry style piece created by Oliver Postgate and Naomi Linnell. Standard adult entry is priced at £8. Group tickets are available, with guided tours for parties of up to 30 at an additional cost. Joint tickets with the Canterbury Roman Museum are valid between Wednesday and Sunday. Be sure to check opening times before visiting.

For more information visit www.canterbury.co.uk/groups

EXPLORE CANTERBURY BY RIVER
CANTERBURY PUNTING CO.
Canterbury Punting Co. transports passengers along the River Stour on handcrafted punts, offering themed tours that tailor to all tastes; Historic Tours, Romantic Tours and Ghost Tours.

Punting activities offer pretty panoramic views from the River Stour

Punting activities offer pretty panoramic views from the River Stour

Canterbury Punting Co. departs centrally from Stour Street behind West Gate every 15 minutes. Once aboard, passengers are comforted by cushioned seats and served champagne upon departure.

In bad weather, an attractive canopy is provided. Boat trips can be booked in advance from the Canterbury Tourist Information Centre on Sun Street. www.canterburypunting.co.uk

CANTERBURY HISTORIC RIVER TOURS
Running since 1932, Canterbury Historic River Tours boasts an award-winning sightseeing service along the River Stour, departing every 15-20 minutes from King’s Bridge between March and October.

Canterbury Historic River Tours are ideal for touring groups of all ages, abilities and nationalities, offering a personalised meet and greet service from the coach park or a designated drop off point.

Tours last approximately 40 minutes and provide the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Canterbury’s city centre. Groups of 12 plus must book in advance.

For more information visit www.canterburyhistoricrivertours.co.uk

GEOFFREY CHAUCER (1343-1400)

Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London and was arguably the first great English poet.

His best-known work is The Canterbury Tales, which is acknowledged for its beautiful rhythms and Chaucer’s characteristic use of clever, satirical wit.

During his lifetime, Geoffrey Chaucer was elected Member of Parliament for Kent, where he formerly worked as a justice of the peace. He began writing The Canterbury Tales in 1387, which consists of a group of people recounting stories to pass the time on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. Geoffrey Chaucer died in 1400 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His gravestone became the centre of Poet’s Corner, later home to such other famous British writers as Charles Dickens.